Dues for membership are set by the Board of Directors and the structure varies from state to state. We've surveyed the nation's guilds to provide the averages of the different membership category dues across the nation.
These tiers are not exact science – no two guilds shape their membership dues structures the same. Some guilds have a simple flat rate, some guilds have a tier system, and some charge a flat rate + per barrel. This is based on our best division of the different structures. We also removed some of the major outliers to make it more accurate.
Core/Voting Members (Brewery)
Most generally used bylaws definition: "A brewing organization that brews common brands, names and formulas at a facility in the guild's state in which it owns a majority interest. If there is more than one brewing organization involved in a brewing facility, the one holding a majority interest is eligible for regular membership. The member must hold a Federal Brewers notice. The brewery must qualify for the Federal Excise Tax exemption applicable to brewers producing no more than 6 million barrels of product a year. A contract brewer who does not own a majority interest in a brewing facility in the guild's state is most often, but not always, ineligible for a Regular membership."
Associate/Allied Trade Members
Beer industry partners (wholesalers, retailers, non-voting breweries) who sponsor the guild/guild events in return for exposure, networking, advertising, and increased business relations with breweries.
Most generally used bylaws definition: "Tradesmen and suppliers doing business with the brewing industry or any individual, partnership or corporation in an allied industry or endeavor may be admitted as a non-voting Associate member. An Associate will pay minimum dues as set by the Board of Directors. The voting rights of an Associate shall be at the Board level only. An associate is eligible to be elected to the Board of Directors but may not serve as an officer of the Association."
Some potential benefits to brewery members by having allied trade partners:
- A valuable supplier/vendor directories could be crafted with the info from all the contact lists of the breweries in the state and provided to brewery members as a member benefit.
- Breweries could organize co-operative supplies purchasing - for ingredients, tanks, glass, etc.
- Suppliers pay the guild for the opportunity to present product demonstrations during guild meetings - gives the guild funds to put on more professional meetings
Thank you to Scott Graham, Michigan Brewers Guild for this input:
"We have identified a number of benefits of guild membership to wholesalers:
- Listing/link on our website
- Usage of our logo in promoting local craft beer
- Discounts on guild merchandise
- Opportunity to advertise on our website
- Discounted conference registration
- Complimentary festival tickets, and/or early entry
- Participation in process to identify retail accounts receiving comp. festival tickets
- Logo placement on festival programs
- Brewery Hospitality sponsor at guild events
In our program the benefits increase with the level (= financial investment) of sponsorship."
This membership tier allows craft beer enthusiasts to stay more connected to the developments of the organization. This can be an excellent source of foundational funds, and brewery members contribute the benefits. There are no voting rights for Enthusiast members. An Enthusiast member is not eligible to be elected to the Board of Directors.
Perks sometimes include (not all of these are offered by one guild at once, these are just ideas from around the states):
- regular newsletter,
- a pint of beer [use caution here, some states won’t permit this…]
- a pint glass,
- early festival entry (like a VIP hour, for guild members only - its not recommended to offer festival tickets)
- discounts at breweries (some % off food/beer/etc),
- special VIP tours and tastings at member breweries around the state,
- a distribution list or forum of sorts - access to group e-mail service for disseminating news and views,
- members-only access to meeting minutes/issue voting/ and decision log,
- an on-line platform for promoting events similar to the calendar on CraftBeer.com.
- first notice of legislative alerts, similar to our SYLB program
You can also use this enthusiast member list as a grass roots network for legislative issues. They are your foot soldiers and will often make a call to their representative if needed to help support their local brewery.
Washington had, as of 2011, 1740 active WABL members! What a great seed fund!
Examples of guild enthusiast programs:
- Colorado Brewers Guild SOCIAL: coloradobeer.org/social
- Illinois Craft Brewers Guild's ImBIBE: illinoisbeer.com/ImBIBE/
- Washington Beer Commission's WABLs: washingtonbeer.com/wabl/
- Wisconsin Craft Brewers Guild's WIBLs: wibrewersguild.com/join/wibl.php
- Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Nuts: mibeer.com/membership
- Montana Brewers Guild Brew Crew: montanabrewers.org/members/brew-crew-members/
- Oregon Brewers Guild's SNOBs: oregonbeer.org/snob/
- Festival: some states offer advertising or guaranteed brewer support for promoters who pay dues, or a percentage of festival proceeds to the guild
- Homebrew Clubs
- In-Planning Breweries, etc.